First Quarter 2017
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First Quarter 2017 • Connecticut Banking Magazine
First Quarter 2017
BankWorld.......................................................................... 14 New Leaders...................................................................... 16 CONNECTICUT BANKERS ASSOCIATION
10 Waterside Dr. Farmington, CT 06032-3083 Telephone: 860-677-5060 • Fax: 860-677-5066 Chairman B. Michael Rauh
Second Vice Chairman Stephen L. Lewis
First Vice Chairman Michael J. Casparino
President & CEO Lindsey R. Pinkham
President & CEO Chelsea Groton Bank
President and CEO Thomaston Savings Bank
President-Northern Connecticut People’s United Bank
Executive Vice President & Treasurer Thomas S. Mongellow First Senior Vice President & Secretary Colleen E. Clancy
Honor Voters’ Wishes and Implement the Spending Cap................................................ 4 Preparing for the Unpredictable............................................ 6 Embracing a Regulatory Expectation That Actually Saves Money.................................................. 8 What Raising Interest Rates Means for Community Bank Pension Plans............................................ 9 Don’t Run Afoul of Pay Equity Laws: Being Proactive Now May Save You Later.......................... 10 CFPB Issues Warning on Incentive Programs............................................................. 11 The Audit Committee: Help Them Help You......................... 12
Connecticut Banking is an official publication of the Connecticut Bankers Association and is published quarterly by
ABC, the Liquidation Tool Connecticut Should Adopt.................................................. 13
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Calendar....................................................................... 05 Bankers in the News..................................................... 24 Banks in the News........................................................ 27 3
Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2017
Honor Voters’ Wishes and Implement the Spending Cap By Jim Smith
oters on Election Day cast a full-throated mandate for change at all levels of government. For the newly elected Connecticut General Assembly the first order of business – and most pressing for the state’s long-term economic health – must be implementing the cap on state spending as voters intended. In 1991, more than 80 percent of Connecticut voters in that year’s general election cast ballots in favor of a constitutional amendment imposing a cap on annual increases in state spending. The spending cap was the keystone in a grand bargain Jim Smith that ushered in Connecticut’s income tax. The concept behind the cap is simple: State expenditures in any year cannot rise by a percentage greater than the percentage increase in either the state’s personal income or inflation, whichever is more. Yet, 25 years later the cap remains an unfinished work, and the will of the overwhelming majority of state voters remains frustrated. Attorney General George Jepsen spotlighted this fact in 2015 when he opined that the cap is inoperative because the General Assembly has not adopted by a three-fifths margin the statutory definitions for what constitutes expenditures, personal income and inflation necessary for the spending cap to function. It is imperative that our state’s leaders adopt effective spending cap definitions that will encourage working across the aisle in the Legislature, force our leaders to prioritize spending, and lead to new ways to deliver state services more efficiently. Since last spring, a bipartisan commission created by the Legislature and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been working diligently to devise definitions for general state expenditures, personal income and inflation, and heard from experts as well as the general public. The commission will report in December to the Legislature which then can act to allow the spending cap to become fully functioning. Businesses are vitally interested in seeing an effective spending cap functioning as voters intended. At the core of our stubbornly slow recovery lies a profound lack of confidence among businesses in the efficacy and sustainability of state fiscal policies. Despite the two largest tax increases in state history in recent years, our state nonetheless remains mired in an endless cycle of budget crises with no end in sight. Recent estimates
from the Office of Fiscal Analysis indicate deficits in excess of $1 billion for fiscal years 2018 through 2020. I strongly believe that fiscal pressures and related uncertainty regarding taxes and regulatory rules are largely responsible for the low and waning confidence expressed by businesses and consumers and is contributing to our alarmingly low standing in surveys measuring Connecticut’s business environment and economic prospects against states across the country. We can turn this perception around if we adopt a control-ourdestiny approach to solving our fiscal problems. That starts by adopting effective definitions for the spending cap that unlike current interpretations of ‘what’s under the cap’ will sustainably control total state spending, lower the state’s cost of doing business, improve public sector productivity and enable investment of the savings in programs and infrastructure and pay downs of the state’s massive unfunded liabilities. The spending cap definitions need to remain true to three principles of fiscal responsibility – stability, predictability and competitiveness. The most important issue the commission faces is deciding what 4
First Quarter 2017 • Connecticut Banking Magazine
expenditures should be included under the cap. The spending cap should be comprehensive and include all state spending. The constitutional amendment envisioned that only debt service was to be exempted, since placing debt service under the cap could unsettle the credit markets, raise the state’s cost of borrowing and possibly lead the state to postpone needed infrastructure improvements. I believe that only debt service should be exempted in the future since the fewer the exemptions, the more likely we can achieve true fiscal discipline. Said differently, allowing exemptions enables a continual end run around the people’s will. Specifically, contributions to meet unfunded pension liabilities and other post-employment benefits – one of the state’s largest and fastest growing categories of spending – should be under the cap (a phased-in, termed-out funding plan would partially mitigate the near term effect on total spending). Yes, this will lead to hard choices, as envisioned in the constitutional amendment…and hard choices are required for Connecticut to regain competitiveness. In the past, legislators by simple majority votes have pushed fast-growing expenses out from under the cap defi-
nition in order to nominally comply with the cap while still satisfying our spending habit. This defeats the cap’s purpose and the voters’ intent. Exemptions from the cap now comprise approximately 30 percent of state expenditures, and those categories are growing much faster than what remains under the cap. If the cap had been faithfully observed since 1992, cumulative state spending would have been reduced by as much as $5.5 billion. To those who say that the spending cap is blind to needs and unforeseen events, I point to the cap’s safety valve. By a gubernatorial declaration and a three-fifths legislative vote, the cap can be exceeded, providing sufficient flexibility to respond to unforeseen needs. Exceeding the cap should be a highly visible act, with all legislators being accountable for their votes. When Connecticut voters spoke in 1991, their message was loud and clear. I urge the Commission and the Legislature to heed the will of voters and adopt definitions that will control state spending as envisioned in the constitutional amendment.u Jim Smith is chairman and CEO of Webster Financial Corp. and Webster Bank.
CBA Calendar MARCH 7 7
CSFM 2017, 2018 Call Report
4 CSFM 2018 9-12 CSFM 2017 BankSim/Graduation 28 Women in Banking
MAY 2 16 18 23
CT Legislative Session Adjourns
CBA Annual Golf Tournament
10-12 CSFM Resident Session 13 Directors and Trustees College
CSFM 2018 Director and Senior Officer Symposium Bank Secrecy CSFM 2019 5
Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2017
Preparing for the Unpredictable By Scott Hildenbrand
t has been a wild and unpredictable year for banks. Interest rates, bank stocks and the Treasury markets have been on a roller coaster ride, as we watched the energy crunch, the surprise Brexit vote, and the U.S. Presidential election results affect the markets in unprecedented ways. While the shape of the yield curve has steepened slightly since November, we only saw one Fed hike in 2016 (even with talk of four) and still have a relatively flat yield curve. Despite the volatility in the past year, the flatness of the yield curve remains unchanged, with spreads between twoand 10-year Treasuries holding steady at about 120 bps. Despite all the changes we saw throughout 2016, we ended up in almost the same place as we began; this serves as an unsolicited reminder that making strategic decisions based on rate predictions may lead you down the wrong path. In times like these, effective balance sheet management is imperative to navigating this volatile landscape. While interest rates remained mostly unchanged, we did see a dramatic move in bank stocks and their valuation. Following the Brexit vote, bank stock indices were underperforming the market by 15 percent. By the end of the year, unexpected election results, and the related anticipation of lower tax rates, fewer regulations and a friendlier yield curve, all contributed to a reversal of this trend. Since then, bank stocks have outperformed the broader market by over 15 percent. In the same vein, valuation multiples have also increased. We are seeing higher stock prices and higher multiples leading to an improved outlook for 2017, as banks are revising budgets and growth projections for the coming year. As we look at growth projections for 2017, we are starting to see more banks turn towards offensive strategies. Because banks have been playing defense for so long against a flat and stagnant yield curve, compressing margins, and a slew of regulatory constraints, it is hard to even imagine what offense looks like. In an environment where earnings are expected to improve and stocks are expected to trade higher, management teams are looking for ways to meet these higher expectations. As a result, we see increased pressure on pricing on both sides of the balance sheet. Funding costs are expected to creep up as loan demand outpaces deposit gathering, and shifts in asset mix (out of bonds and/ or cash and into loans) have already taken place. On the liability side, there has been a drastic change in deposit mix in the last 10 years. Your CDs have been replaced with a different deposit type, and with it, a different type of depositor. With money market accounts on the rise, it may be difficult to rely on CD specials to efficiently address liquidity needs to the same extent as you may have in the past. One idea we have seen lately is offering an indexlinked money market product (think Fed funds). Your depositors, who are likely worried about rising rates, are hesitant to leave money with you when they may find a better rate elsewhere. With index-linked money market products, they feel better knowing their rates will float with the market. From the bank’s perspective, you have given your customers a reason to keep their funds with you, while creating a liability that is perfectly set up for a
hedge if the need arises. In this environment, having a flexible and efficient way to manage liquidity is important, while also giving yourself the ability to manage the rate risk component of deposit costs. The same principle applies on the asset side. All too often we see loans being turned away simply because the bank doesn’t want to take the interest rate risk on longer duration fixed rate assets. Your lenders should be less concerned with rate risk and more focused on bringing good credit and great relationships to your institution. Let management and ALCO worry about managing the interest rate risk component. Utilizing interest rate swaps on customer loans is another flexible and efficient way to provide customers with the products they want (fixed rate loans) while the bank gets the benefit of having floating rate assets that will move with interest rates. Both parties are satisfied. Offering loan-level hedging to your customers helps the bank stay competitive in meeting customer demand while also providing another source of fee income, thereby diversifying noninterest income drivers. Managing your balance sheet efficiently is as important as ever in a time when the cost of everything is rising. Think about ways to use your interest rate risk model as a tool to drive earnings, to fund growth, and to make smart strategic decisions that positively impact your franchise value. Highly-valued companies do not rely on changes in interest rates to drive their earnings growth. These companies are strategizing about ways to proactively deliver products that satisfy customers’ demands, while also providing the bank with efficient and flexible ways to manage interest rate risk. It is time to start thinking offensively for the future, because no one knows what the next year will bring. u Scott Hildenbrand is a principal and chief balance sheet strategist of Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P. He heads the firm’s Balance Sheet Analysis and Strategy group. He can be reached at (212) 4667865 and firstname.lastname@example.org. 6
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Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2017
Embracing a Regulatory Expectation That Actually Saves Money By Joseph Romanello
hen it comes to third-party management, cybersecurity and data protection get top billing. Yet there is another expectation that banks know is just as important to keeping their institutions strong and safe: vendor pricing and contract management. Regulators expect that banks will seek out reasonable contract terms and pricing comparable to what peer institutions pay. Institutions that don’t know their costs or understand the impact on efficiency, margins and performance ratios have seen significant regulatory commentary. Despite straightforward expectations and a natural cost consciousness, too many banks are falling short of the goal of comJoseph Romanello petitive pricing, and some aren’t even aware of it. But there are steps banks can take to turn expectations for vendor management into an opportunity to boost profits and contain costs. After all, overspending on products and services directly impacts the bottom line and cuts into an institution’s competitive advantage.
Sometimes it’s obvious, such as when quotes for a new system are much higher than other bids. But other times it’s not nearly as noticeable. Consider core platform upgrades. Institutions often find themselves upgrading or converting core platforms when the existing system is no longer supported. The new platform may include new or add-on products, services and features that the institution might not require but add to the overall cost, adversely impacting the bottom line. A few examples include online bill pay, remote deposit capture and risk assessment software. Other times institutions negotiate a contract while focused on one big-ticket item, such as the reissuance of new EMV cards. If they aren’t careful or get distracted by the high-profile expense, they may find that costs in ancillary sub-contracts have increased or contract terms have been extended. 2. Lack of Information In many ways, expense management is a lot of like preventing cyber-attacks. An institution does its best to know all it can about current threats while following best practices, but in the end there are limitations to the intelligence an institution is able to collect. Think about your institution’s experience with vendor pricing. You want to believe that your third party providers’ pricing structure is competitive with what other peer institutions pay, but it’s nearly impossible to be absolutely certain. Either you need a group of peers willing to share those insights, or you need to invest the time to request pricing from many vendors for every single contract. Then you need to decipher each vendor’s different terminology to compare offers and look for hidden opportunities to maximize bottom line performance. It’s a time-consuming and complicated task — one that goes right to profitability and your competitive advantage (or lack thereof). These obstacles can be overcome with research, resources, and analysis. Contracts can be renegotiated and designed to prevent overspending for current products and services, but only if the institution carefully reviews every detail of every contract and knows how to identify overlooked opportunities for improvement. Benchmarking data can save time and increase accuracy by revealing peer pricing. Regardless of how banks choose to solve these problems, they must be addressed either going it alone or bringing in expert advisers. It’s not just good compliance – it’s good business. u
Despite straightforward expectations and a natural cost consciousness, too many banks are falling short of the goal of competitive pricing. It begins with developing a process. Vendor price monitoring and cost analysis must become an ingrained and repeatable process built into the institution’s vendor management program, just like due diligence reviews of vendor performance and selection. Contracts require continual monitoring to ensure cost structures and pricing models remain competitive. If market factors or bank volumes make existing pricing obsolete – or if an institution discovers it’s overpaying – the contract can often be renegotiated. But even with solid processes in place, two common obstacles prevent institutions from obtaining the most appropriate pricing, especially those with limited resources and in-house expertise. These are: 1. Adverse Pricing Adverse pricing is pricing unfavorable to the institution.
Joseph Romanello is senior vice president at Strategic Resource Management Inc. 8
First Quarter 2017 • Connecticut Banking Magazine
What Raising Interest Rates Means for Community Bank Pension Plans Best Practices for Defined Benefit Plan Management By Steve Mendelsohn
hen it comes to many financial decisions, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and this is certainly true for pension risk management. Lately, the market buzz is about reducing pension risk (high and/or volatile accounting results) and arguing against it feels like arguing against “Mom and apple pie.” But you don’t simply elect stability; you pay for it in some way. Often, the cost is well worth the risk reduction tradeoff (as is the case with buying insurance). However, if anyone is presenting these strategies as cost free, be cautious and probe further. Generally, for pension plans, the financial “risk” to a community bank can be divided in two: higher than warranted P&L costs or higher than manageable volatility in the plan’s year-overyear results. Community banks, and other financial institutions, have a unique ability to manage both of these, due to high capital reserves with limits on how these reserves can be invested outside the plan. For banks, the real science behind risk reduction lays in understanding your organization’s risk tolerance. That is, the difference between a financial inconvenience (rain storm) and a financial risk (lighting storm) specifically for your bank. The Federal Reserve has predicted as many as three interest rate increases of 25 basis points each during 2017. This, combined with a strong market, should provide relief from recent accounting results. It also presents a chance to refresh some financial management strategies for two reasons: First, it’s worthwhile to consider “locking in gains” once they have occurred, and second, lower unamortized losses (OCI) will mean lower accounting settlement charges. Recently, the most popular risk mitigation steps MassMutual has seen and discussed with our clients focuses on positioning assets to better “shadow” liabilities (LDI) along with using plan assets to strategically settle tranches of the plan’s inactive participant liabilities: • Moving, over time, from an equity-centric portfolio (return seeking) to a liability-centric (liability hedging) portfolio through the use of a glide-path approach or dynamic Investment Policy Statement (IPS). • Dividing retirees into groups based on the benefit amounts and analyzing the accounting impact of currently buying annuities for only a portion of the retiree population. • Offering lump-sum settlements to the plan’s vested, terminated participants. As with the retiree strategy, we suggest also dividing these participants into groups based on the benefit amounts.
For example, let’s look at a plan with $43.4 million in assets with a portfolio that is expected to earn 7 percent per year with $50 million in liabilities. The liability is also expected to grow, but at 4 percent per year (the liability is a discounted measure expected to grow for passage of time). Therefore, the best estimate is that the plan will be fully funded in five years. However, this is only an estimate with a wide range of potential results; for example, if the assets net a zero return over the five years, the plan will be short $17.4 million. The plan currently has an opportunity to settle $20 million of liabilities by paying out $20 million of plan assets. The impact on the five-year expected outcome is that the plan will not be fully funded but rather underfunded by $3.7 million (the cost). However, the benefit is lower dollar variances in the possible outcomes. Under the zero-return model, the plan would be short $13.1 million (rather than $17.4 million). This, by no means, makes settling some liabilities a bad alternative to consider. However, in doing so, work with advisors, actuaries and other experts who fully understand defined benefit plans and their unique financial operation within a community bank so that you see a full 360 degree view. Including the potential “opportunity cost” of removing or realigning assets. Bottom line: make sure you understand the true costs/benefits behind some of the risk mitigation strategies. That is, understand if you are running the risk of getting struck by lightning or simply the inconvenience of getting wet. u Steve Mendelsohn, EA, MAAA, FCA, is MassMutual’s national practice leader for defined benefit actuarial services. He is an Enrolled Actuary, a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and a Fellow of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries.
In focusing on what may make sense for your plan’s financial risk strategies, it’s important to remember that there is no free lunch. If your goal is greater predictability, it comes with a cost. 9
Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2017
Don’t Run Afoul of Pay Equity Laws: Being Proactive Now May Save You Later By Kainen, Escalera & Mchale similar work, in advance of any further requirements that may be forth coming. So where does all of this leave employers in Connecticut? These changes should be a wakeup call for employers. As far as Connecticut law is concerned, the legislature recently passed (2015), and the Governor signed, a law concerning pay equity and fairness. The law encourages wage transparency by barring employers from prohibiting employees from voluntarily discussing their wages with other employees and/or with third parties. Similar laws have also recently been passed in Massachusetts and New York. For example, under the Massachusetts Pay Equity Act, which is scheduled to take effect in 2018, employers shall be prohibited from screening applicants based on their previous salary or asking salary related questions until after an offer is made. Additionally, Massachusetts employers will be barred from contacting an applicant’s former employer to discuss their wages until after an offer is made and only then, with written permission from the applicant. Further, under New York’s recently passed law, employers shall be required to justify pay differentials based on a limited number of factors, such as: (1) a seniority system; (2) a merit system; (3) a system that measures earning by quantity and quality of production; or (4) a bona fide factor other than sex (i.e., education, training, experience, etc.). New York employers also may not prohibit employees from inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing wage information. What does all this mean? If you are an employer in Connecticut, particularly a large employer, you may want to consider conducting a pay analysis for your company. It’s a good idea to have an attorney conduct that analysis so the data is protected under attorney-client privilege. What should you do if you discover you have problematic pay standards? Be prepared to act. u
ay equity is a topic of growing importance – made even more important by new pay equity laws in states like California, Massachusetts and New York. Yes – Several states as well as the federal government, have long had laws banning employers from paying women less than men for the same job. But the new California Fair Pay Act however significantly raises the stakes by saying employers may not pay employees less than those of the opposite sex for “substantially similar work,” regardless of title or work site. In California for example, a female store clerk may challenge a male clerk’s higher wages at a store owned by the same company but located a short distance away. Or a female maintenance worker who is responsible for keeping a warehouse floor clean may challenge higher wages paid to a male janitor who cleans the lobby and offices. What’s more, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is having employers with 100 or more workers submit salary data along with their EEO-1 reports. The new rule applies to 2017 EEO-1 reports, which will not be due until March 31, 2018. Shareholder initiatives are also putting pressure on large publically traded companies to report pay equity to shareholders annually. Smaller employers also should consider insuring that their salary data does not show differences in pay between women and men for substantially
Kainen, Escalera & McHale is a full-service employer defense law firm. 10
First Quarter 2017 • Connecticut Banking Magazine
CFPB Issues Warning on Incentive Programs By Victoria Stephen
nly a few of months after the Wells Fargo scandal, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a compliance bulletin sternly warning of the risks of production and sales incentives. In an all but direct comment on Wells Fargo, the bulletin emphasizes that incentive programs, despite their many business benefits, have the tendency to create “an unrealistic culture of high-pressure targets.” While incentive programs are typically driven by compensation and bonuses, they can also include benchmarks that affect whether an employee will remain employed in her position or even retained at all. The bulletin provides a variety of examples of imVictoria Stephen proper practices and outlines several steps that banks should take to prevent, detect and correct these practices so that they do not lead to consumer abuse, whether intentional or not. Although impropriety will ultimately depend on the facts and circumstances of each case, the bureau gave several examples of common practices worth noting: • Sales goals may encourage employees to open accounts or enroll customers in services without their knowledge or consent. This can lead to improperly-incurred fees, improper collections and/or negative effects on consumers’ credit reports. The risk of deception is exacerbated when sales quotas are “unrealistic.” • Even if consumer consent is obtained, sales benchmarks may lead employees to deceptively market a product to customers who may not benefit from or even qualify for the product. • Paying employees based on terms of transactions (for example, interest rates) may encourage them to steer customers toward less favorable products than they qualify for or to sell them more credit or services than they request or need. The bulletin also provides several specific instances of impropriety that have resulted in recent enforcement actions:
Credit Card Add-On
There have already been 12 cases of improperly marketing credit card add-on products and the CFPB notes that offering incentives often increased the risk of impropriety. Sales call recordings showed that employees would deviate from prepared call scripts to market products more aggressively, and even deceptively, just to sign up more customers.
As a result of incentives for hitting specific benchmarks, one bank’s telemarketing service provider deceptively marketed
overdraft services and enrolled consumers in those services without their knowledge or consent.
Unfair and Abusive Sales
In another case, employees opened hundreds of thousands of deposit accounts without the customers’ knowledge or consent. The same employees issued unauthorized credit cards to incur additional fees, opened and activated debit cards without informing the customer and created online banking accounts using false email addresses. If the bank does provide a production and sales incentive program, the main expectation is that it will also have a “robust” compliance management system (CMS) which, according to the bureau, would generally consist of: • Board of directors and management oversight; • Compliance program, which would include: policies and procedures, training, monitoring and corrective action; • Consumer complaint management program; and • Independent compliance audit. To be clear, incentive programs in themselves are not prohibited, but this timely reminder is a clear indicator that they will be under heightened scrutiny. We would recommend that members carefully review the examples and recommendations and tailor their CMS to make sure their programs have realistic goals and proper oversight. u Victoria E. Stephen works as associate general counsel for Compliance Alliance. As one of our hotline advisors, she helps Compliance Alliance members with a variety of compliance and regulatory questions. 11
Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2017
The Audit Committee: Help Them Help You By Sal A. Inserra, CPA, and Lisa M. Carley, CPA
n effective audit committee is a critical component of a financial institution’s corporate governance, but such a committee is not the result of an accident. It is formed through a deliberate process that includes appointing qualified individuals, providing adequate resources and offering other appropriate support.
The Right People Every effective team begins with an effective leader to serve as chairperson. To fill that role for the audit committee, the board must select an independent director who, at a minimum, possesses an understanding of U.S. generally accepted accounting principles and the importance of internal controls. The audit chairperson should have a sense of the pressure points where the institution might be particularly vulnerable to fraud. Often, board members are business owners, managers in other organizations, or educators and will need help to acquire the requisite skill sets to lead or participate on the audit committee. With accounting standards, regulatory compliance requirements, and risk factors continuing to change at a rapid pace, boards need to commit time and money to keep the chairperson and the audit committee up to speed. New accounting rules revisit some long-standing techniques in order to establish a more transparent level of reporting. Also, the introduction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) added complexity to regulatory compliance, and a bank that runs afoul of the new rules could suffer substantial harm to its reputation. In addition, technology and customer demands for access to services through nontraditional channels add risks never contemplated 10 years ago. To help the audit committee stay current, the board should provide it access to outside training on these and other relevant areas. Boards also can obtain valuable guidance by monitoring the activities at other banks. Their publicized experiences (for example, in alerts from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) can serve as a road map of areas that require regular attention from the audit committee. Audit committee members must be intimately familiar not just with their own bank – but also with the banking industry as a whole.
elements increases significantly when the bank’s management is responsible for reporting on the design and effectiveness of the internal controls over financial reporting, as is required of publicly traded companies, because management must attest that controls are well-designed and operating effectively and is held responsible if its attestation proves false. Bear in mind that a bank’s growth often is not mirrored in changes in internal audit. As a result, issues can go unidentified. Even if new issues are appropriately identified, the review cycles will be prolonged if internal audit has insufficient personnel. When the board looks strategically at the organization, it must align the expansion of the business with the risk mitigation process—including internal audit resources. Even the most capable audit committee will prove ineffective without a well-armed internal audit team. The board also should recognize that its attitude and that of management toward internal audit frequently contributes to its success (or lack thereof). Leadership should address findings on a timely basis, and the board and audit committee should monitor the responsiveness of corrective action, especially for those issues flagged as higher risk. If management is dismissive of findings, and the audit committee or board is disinterested in follow-up, the value of the internal audit role will erode quickly.
The Right Support
The Right Approach
Although it is management’s responsibility to establish processes and controls to manage risk, it is the audit committee’s responsibility to confirm that such processes and controls are established and monitored. The internal audit group, already charged with risk assessment and monitoring, can play an important role in satisfying this responsibility. As with the audit committee, the success of internal audit hinges on the training and experience of the team members and on the provision of necessary resources. The importance of these
Board members are elected to oversee the activities of their bank, and the audit committee is an integral part of that oversight. It is in the board’s – and the bank’s – best interest to provide both the audit committee and internal audit with the training and resources necessary to execute their responsibilities. u
The Right Resources
Sal Inserra works in audit services in Atlanta and Lisa Carley works in audit services in Indianapolis for Crowe Horwath, a public accounting, consulting and technology firm. 12
First Quarter 2017 • Connecticut Banking Magazine
ABC, the Liquidation Tool Connecticut Should Adopt By Lucas Rocklin
nder Connecticut law, when a borrower defaults on a loan, a lender has one or more of the following options: the lender can negotiate a workout if feasible, liquidate any loan collateral if the borrower is cooperative, commence a lawsuit to recover any loan collateral and/or obtain a money judgment or possibly force the borrower into an involuntary bankruptcy. Borrowers have the additional option of filing a voluntary bankruptcy, which happens frequently when borrowers are faced with aggressive lenders. Each option can be beneficial in the appropriate situation, but all too often a post-default “cat and mouse” game ensues between the lender and borrower that often leads to both parties being less than satisfied with the end result. Lucas Rocklin An Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors, or ABC for short, provides another option that is often advantageous to both lender and borrower. ABC is a method of winding down a failed and no longer viable business. It is similar to a bankruptcy liquidation, but has the advantage of avoiding the delay, expense, unpredictability and stigma often associated with a bankruptcy proceeding. A liquidation of a failed business through the ABC process can result in greater recovery to the lender and less loss to the borrower. Authorized under state law, and done with or without court oversight depending on the law of the state, ABC laws have been adopted by a majority of the states including California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Florida and many others. Connecticut has not adopted the ABC liquidation tool but should. Here is how the ABC process works. The borrower is the assignor, who assigns and transfers title to all of its assets to a thirdparty assignee who liquidates the assets in a fiduciary capacity for distribution to the borrower’s creditors, similar to a bankruptcy trustee. Assignees are experienced liquidation companies and the assignment is done through a contract between the borrower and assignee and includes the assignee’s fee, which can be a flat payment, percentage of the assets sold, or a blend of the two. Frequently with the input and consent of the secured lender, the borrower selects an assignee who has expertise in liquidations involving the borrower’s industry. The borrower and secured lender are largely able to predetermine how the sale of the borrower’s property will occur prior to the assignment. This is preferable to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where a trustee is appointed at random who may not be familiar with the borrower’s industry or the most effective way to sell the borrower’s assets. At the beginning of the assignment, the borrower provides the assignee with a list of its creditors and the assets being assigned. The assignee also obtains UCC and title searches of the borrower’s property. With this information, the assignee sends notice of the assignment to all creditors and includes a claim form and sets a deadline for creditors to file a claim.
The assignee takes the borrower’s property subject to all creditor claims, secured and unsecured. The assignment does not cause an “automatic stay” to stop creditor collection efforts, as is true under bankruptcy law, although the assignee can settle and defend creditor litigation. In reality, most creditors welcome the assignment as a way to avoid having to complete a foreclosure for example, and because the borrower’s assets have been transferred to a third-party assignee who has expertise in liquidating businesses of the borrower’s type. The assignee can also dispute and negotiate claims that are filed with the assignee and can seek to recover preference payments and fraudulent transfers as allowed under state law, similar to bankruptcy trustee.
The ABC process can be an efficient and cost-effective way to wind-down a failed business. It avoids the post-default “cat and mouse” game that frequently occurs between lender and borrower in Connecticut. With title to the borrower’s assets, the assignee liquidates the property in a commercially reasonable manner. This may be done through an auction or other sale of the borrower’s property, and the assignee can hire outside professionals such as attorneys, accountants and real estate brokers who are paid from the borrower’s estate. Property sold in the ABC process is not “free and clear” of security interests, as is true in a bankruptcy sale, and absent a full payoff of all secured creditors’ claims, consent of the secured creditors to release their liens is required. After the borrower’s property is sold, creditors are paid according to their claims and in the order of priority set forth under state law or the Bankruptcy Code (for example, secured creditors are paid before unsecured creditors). The ABC process can be an efficient and cost-effective way to wind-down a failed business. It avoids the post-default “cat and mouse” game that frequently occurs between lender and borrower in Connecticut. The ABC process can also be completed without the delay, expense, unpredictability and stigma often associated with a bankruptcy proceeding. It is time for Connecticut to adopt the liquidation tool of ABC. u Lucas B. Rocklin, partner at Neubert, Pepe & Monteith, P.C., practices commercial litigation, creditor rights, banking law, bankruptcy law and labor law in New Haven, Connecticut. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 13
g in Connecticut Held this year at Mohegan Sun, the annual tradeshow for all things bankin ation and Associ s was once again a rousing success. Presented by the Connecticut Banker orld offered The Warren Group, in partnership with the Center for Financial Training, BankW -only, and the g-room something for everyone. Many of the 16 concurrent sessions were standin popular. tradeshow floor, featuring more than 75 vendor booths, once again proved in Banking. This s The night before the show, hundreds gathered to honor the New Leader stories of these yearâ€™s 13 recipients were feted with a celebratory reception and dinner. The inspiring individuals can be found on page 14. For more photos, podcasts and videos from the tradeshow floor, please visit u https://www.thewarrengroupevents.com/bankworld/media/
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LE A DI NG BY E X AMPLE JEN TOMAINO, NEW LE ADER IN BANKING AWARD WINNER
Congratulations Jen Tomaino, our Vice President of Business Banking and Solutions Team member, for being named a New Leader in Banking by the Connecticut Bankers Association. We are very proud of your work and volunteer contributions to Union Savings Bank and the communities we serve. Jen Tomaino with Union Savings Bank President and CEO Cindy Merkle
unionsavings.com Read our Business Blog at unionsavings.com/businessblog
Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2017
MEET THE FUTURE OF CONNECTICUT BANKING
In conjunction with BankWorld, the largest banking conference and expo in the Northeast, held in January, the Connecticut Bankers Association and The Warren Group honored 13 up-and-coming bankers in Connecticut. Nominated by their peers and chosen by an independent review committee, these are the state’s best and brightest. Here are their stories.
PHOTOS BY AMANDA MARTOCCHIO | THE WARREN GROUP
AMY BRITTON Vice President, BSA Officer Fairfield County Bank teller, 15 years ago. I had recently graduated from high school and was looking for a job. I was seeking new opportunities and education assistance. Debra Massicotte, who is my aunt, worked at our local community bank and told me about an open teller position. That opportunity changed my life. I stay in community banking because I continue to be challenged and this sector offers new and exciting learning opportunities. I am also very lucky to have a strong network of community bankers, whom I call family and friends. How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? I came to community banking as a
What do you consider your biggest success? My biggest success is my education. I began taking CFT courses 15
years ago, where I received several certificates and diplomas and I continued on to college where I achieved a Bachelor of Science degree. I also recently graduated from the Connecticut School of Finance and Management and am a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist. Continuing education is very important to me; I am a life-long learner. How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? Over the next 10 years, I can see personal teller machines and smart phone technology replacing frontline teller counters. All transactions will be handled out of an operations center through phone, email, video, or electronic portal. I also think
cryptocurrency will continue to gain popularity which will begin to replace the need for traditional currency. Banking will be all about convenience and that is what technology offers. If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? That is a tough question because I can’t see myself doing anything else. I went to W.F. Kaynor Technical High School for Machine Technology so I would probably be working for a manufacturing company doing Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM). What’s your favorite vacation spot? My favorite vacation spot is with my family in Georgetown, Maine during the summer. Maine offers beautiful scenery with a quiet atmosphere.
Leading the way Congratulations to our very own Lina Curtin, First Vice President and Comptroller, Liberty’s New Leader in Banking. This well-deserved honor is one opportunity to recognize you for your professionalism and passion for providing quality service every day. Thank you for leading the way so our customers find their [my money is in great hands] place.
EQUAL HOUSING LENDER
continued from page 17
CHRISTINE BEIRNE Vice President, Director of Human Resources Guilford Savings Bank
How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? I have worked in human resources
for over 20 years in the advertising, finance and manufacturing industries. When my daughter was honored by a local service organization, Guilford Savings Bank awarded her a monetary gift. It was through her experience that I learned more about community banking. I was impressed by its model of relationship banking, community engagement, and local focus. When Guilford Savings Bank had an opening in their HR department a short time later, I quickly applied. I remain in community banking because I am thrilled to be a part of an industry that helps build the Connecticut economy through community support, financial education and innovative products/ services.
What do you consider your biggest success? Personally, my greatest success has been the life I have built with my husband, Brian, and our two children. Professionally, my greatest success is the ability to work for an organization that serves its employees, customers and the community. How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? Increased digital adoption will result in continued changes to the way we service and communicate with our customers; providing them with a medium in which they are most comfortable. Improved security measures will take hold through the
use of biometrics. Banks will begin to look more like high tech companies who offer banking products. If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? I can’t imagine not being a community banker! Perish the thought! What’s your favorite vacation spot? Ireland – great food, music and people.
DOUGLAS HENSAL Vice President, Regional Manager Newtown Savings Bank
How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? I have been a community banker since
the summer of 1997. Every summer I came home from college and worked for a local community bank. When I graduated from Indiana University, I decided that I wanted a career in banking and I have been a community banker ever since. I have a passion for community banking because I like to give back by sharing my experiences and helping others that might be less fortunate. I have always donated my time to local organizations throughout my career and I really enjoy staying involved in the local community. I also have a passion for mutual banking. I believe mutual banks are important to community banking and the state of Connecticut is lucky to have so many in existence compared to other areas
throughout the United States. What do you consider your biggest success? It is hard to give one example, but I would say being a mentor to others inside and outside of the Bank. I feel that due to my guidance several of my co-workers and friends in life have been able to become successful career oriented individuals. I have always been a very sports minded individual and I love to coach. I like to lead my team, my employees and my friends to achieve their life and career goals. How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? I think as we move forward the old brick and mortar branches will still be
around, but we will see a tremendous shift in banking towards our mobile devices. We are starting to already see this change and it will only increase as technology continues to improve for banks, merchants and other industries. If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? I would have probably become an athletic director or a coach. I have always enjoyed guiding others to achieve their dreams. What’s your favorite vacation spot? I have three: Hawaii, Ireland and Stratton Mountain, Vermont.
FRANCESCA KRACHT Vice President, Senior Project Officer Thomaston Savings Bank
How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? A friend referred me to a local community bank where I started as a teller. Within a few years I was managing the EFT/checking departments, as well as deposit compliance. After living in the world
of EFT, operations and compliance/ risk, along with a few core conversions tossed in, I realized I truly enjoyed introducing and learning new technology, products and processes, as well as managing change. With the support and encouragement of my employer for the past 10 years, Thomaston Savings Bank, I’ve recently moved into my current role in project management which I absolutely love. I’ve stayed in the banking industry because of the growth and opportunity afforded to me and because the world of community banking is all about relationships and making a difference.
only about hard work, perseverance, collaboration and holding oneself to a higher standard, but also about respecting all co-workers, helping others and taking time to enjoy and laugh at work as well. My greatest success is being able to continually progress in my career, have a positive impact on my bank, co-workers and community and to make my many mentors proud and all their efforts worthwhile. On a personal level, my biggest success is my family – my wonderful husband and two incredible children who make every day a joy.
What do you consider your biggest success? I have been lucky to have amazing mentors throughout my banking career who have taught me so much. Not
How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? As technology continues to grow at a tremendous pace there will be enormous opportunities for banks to innovate and increase their
digital channels. I firmly believe we can integrate new technology without compromising the customer experience. As customer expectations evolve so can and will our interactions and connections we can make with them. As always, the key is finding the balance between innovation and customer expectation and security, confidentiality and integrity of the transactions and data. I am excited for what lies ahead, from enhanced data analytics and branch automation to blockchain technology and wearables. If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? I would most likely be a lawyer. What’s your favorite vacation spot? Europe, especially Italy.
JENNIFER TOMAINO Vice President – Business Banking Relationship Manager Union Savings Bank How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? A friend of mine who was (and still is) working at Union Savings Bank encouraged me to apply for a position at the Bank. I had a background in financial management and I was very involved in the community in Brookfield, where we both live. I am so glad that I did! Community banking is the perfect fit for me and Union Savings Bank is a great place to work. I love having a career that allows me to feel I’m contributing in a meaningful way to the local economy and helping
business owners achieve their goals. It’s also great to work with a group of people that really want to do what is best for our customers. What do you consider your biggest success? Raising two children who are now respectful, independent and kind teenagers. How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? Given the fact that the iPhone was just invented 10 years ago, I’m going to say that over the next 10 years technology
will change banking in ways that we can’t imagine right now. If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? I would love to run a small farm. I love animals, growing things, being outside and fresh food. What’s your favorite vacation spot? Visiting my brother in Portland, Oregon and family vacations to Long Beach Island, New Jersey.
Congratulations Amy Britton
on receiving the 2017 New Leader in Banking Award!
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” — Jack Welch
Vice President, BSA Officer
877.431.7431 • www.fairfieldcountybank.com 19
continued from page 19
JOANNA GOULD Branch Officer Windsor Federal Savings same personal involvement that can be found at a community bank. In addition to financial support, Windsor Federal Savings encourages employees to take an active role by volunteering in the communities we serve. We are here for our customers, neighbors and communities.
How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? Before coming to community banking, I worked in retail and at some bigger banks. While both fields stressed the importance of community involvement, it is not the
What do you consider your biggest success? I have had many successes in my life but I cannot pinpoint only one to be the biggest. This past year, I realized that I finally truly feel successful and fulfilled in life and it is due to all of my successes. I have a bachelor’s degree from Boston University, a wonderful husband and intelligent, beautiful, and driven daughter, a family that offers
support, an employer that allows me to grow and that values its employees and communities, I became a United States citizen, and I’m the treasurer on the board of directors for the Windsor Food and Fuel Bank. All of these successes have brought me to this point in life and I feel truly happy and successful. How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? I think the technological advances in smartphones will make banking faster. In particular, with mobile pay services becoming more popular, debit/credit cards may become obsolete. At this point in time, bank customers have to go through third parties to use this service. These third parties are
profiting of our customers. I think within the next 10 years banks will find a way to compete with mobile pay service providers. If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? I would love to be a stay-at-home mom and also be involved in my local government. What’s your favorite vacation spot? Disney World! We have been three times and every time was an amazing experience seeing the joy and wonder in my daughter’s eyes. We have made so many magical memories!
CONGRATULATIONS Congratulations to our New Leaders in Banking Award Recipient
Doug Hensal Vice President Regional Manager
JOSEPH BEALE Senior Market Manager, Assistant Vice President Simsbury Bank thus the community, should be based on relationship building. Relationship building’s foundation is built upon a sharp focus and the prioritizing of an individual’s or organizations specific and unique needs. Community banks and their associates have the knowledge, customer commitment, and developed skill sets that make their services an immeasurable asset to their respective local communities. How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? I spent 12 years working in the banking industry for larger commercial banks. I pursued a career in community banking due to my belief that providing financial stability to individuals, and
What do you consider your biggest success? I consider my biggest success to be my daily active participation in my local community. I am a senior market manager for Simsbury Bank, a director on the Simsbury Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the
Simsbury/Granby Rotary. I can interact with the local community on a variety of levels, and gain knowledge and insight to local events and unique community situations. This allows me to be more impactful to the customers of our bank, and impactful to my supportive activities within the Simsbury community. How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? Current technological advances has allowed all industries, including banking, to become more efficient and available to customers through many channels. Any organization is as good as the tools they use, and the people who use those tools, or who can guide customers in using those tools. My
concern regarding technology is that some organizations in the banking industry will use technology to replace knowledgeable/customer oriented members, instead of providing a useful tool that can enhance the customer experience. If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? I was very proud to serve in the United States Army, including during the Persian Gulf conflict. I would have been satisfied making a longer commitment to our military, and our country. What’s your favorite vacation spot? St. Maarten-St. Martin, in the Caribbean.
KIMBERLY DOWNEY Vice President, Trust Officer Salisbury Bank and Trust How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? I started at the bank as a teller. The two most predominant reasons I stay in community banking are I enjoy the work I am tasked with each day and I like helping customers achieve their financial goals.
What do you consider your biggest success? My biggest success is being able to find the proper balance between my family, a career and volunteering in my community. How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? In the next 10 years, technology should
provide efficiencies for the banking industry and increased communication between bankers and customers. If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? Unsure. What’s your favorite vacation spot? The beach.
Thomaston Savings Bank proudly congratulates Francesca Kracht on being named a New Leader in Banking. Francesca has made a significant contribution to Thomaston Savings Bank and the communities that the Bank serves.
Francesca Kracht Vice President Senior Project Officer
Congratulations to Francesca, and all the New Leaders in Banking on this significant honor.
860.283.1874 LOCAL 855.344.1874 TOLL FREE thomastonsb.com Member FDIC
21 Francesca Kracht - New Leaders in Banking AD: Connecticut Banking magazine, First Quarter 2017
continued from page 21
LINA CURTIN First Vice President and Comptroller Liberty Bank to become CFO of a Denovo Bank at the formation and capital raising stage. This Denovo became part of Liberty Bank, where I’ve been lucky to be for the previous six years. I’ve stayed in community banking because I believe in the value and mission of community banking, which helps to support our neighbors and the communities where we live. How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? I began my career at one of the very large insurance companies in the area, and quickly realized my preference to work with a smaller organization; something with less specialization and a broader focus. I accepted the position of controller of a small community bank, which was ultimately acquired by Webster. After the acquisition, I was very fortunate
but I could not be more proud of them.
What do you consider your biggest success? While I am extremely grateful for my professional opportunities, my greatest success is undoubtedly my three grown children, ages 25, 23 and 22. They are all good-hearted, hard-working, responsible, college graduates with successful lives of their own. My oldest son works for a start-up in Boston, my middle daughter recently moved out to San Diego and my youngest daughter works for Time Inc. in New York City. I do miss them all terribly,
How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? The next 10 years will be a seismic shift in banking as technology and banking become ubiquitous in our everyday lives. All of us have seen the changes and benefits of technology; just consider how many devices our smartphones have replaced! These technology advancements will make us more efficient and allow us to serve our customers with an ever expanding menu of services and selfservice capabilities. Community banking is here to stay; technology will enable us to continually enhance our customers’ experience and allow us to thrive. If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? While it’s admittedly pretty far from banking, if I weren’t a community banker,
I would love to work in social services, and ideally as a counselor. I have long been intrigued by personal relationships and everything about them. What makes us happy? What draws us to one another? What makes relationships work, and when relationships stop working, how can they be mended? I find all of this completely fascinating. What is your favorite vacation spot? My favorite vacation spot is Bermuda. It’s a magical island where each breathtaking each view is more captivating than the one before it. Look in any direction, and you are surrounded by bright-blue turquoise waters, beautiful, unaltered vegetation and stunning cliff formations. The island is thriving and contemporary, yet somehow, it remains peacefully and exquisitely unspoiled.
LISA PARTRICK Vice President, Corporate Secretary Litchfield Bancorp in 1994 as a teller and realized quickly that this is where I was meant to be. I feel I have been very fortunate to work for a community bank that has been a fixture in the community since 1850 and has an equally strong commitment to supporting those in the community and its employees. Full circle of my career would be that I retire and return to the bank as the courier again. How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? I began my career at Litchfield Bancorp in 1990 as our bank courier until 1992. A perfect job for a young person who didn’t know what she wanted to do – a couple of hours a day, limited responsibility. I returned to the bank
What do you consider your biggest success? Personally, it is raising my daughter as a single parent. Being her main support system since she was born, it hasn’t been easy but it has been worth it to see the strong, beautiful, remarkable young woman she has become. She is currently a freshman at Furman University and
I couldn’t be prouder of how hard she’s worked to get there. I want nothing more than to be able to see the amazing life she creates for herself. Professionally, it is the ability to represent the bank with the several charitable organizations and community events I have been involved with throughout the years. How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? It has been fascinating watching the advancements in technology – remember what an accomplishment it was to get your customers signed up for direct deposit? Now online banking, apple pay, remote deposit capture, just to name a few, is common place. But nothing beats having personal
interactions with a community bank employee dedicated to satisfying your needs. If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? I would have liked to have been a flight attendant. Both banking and travel is in my blood. My grandfather was a pilot for TWA and my grandmother was a manager for State National Bank “back in the day.”. What’s your favorite vacation spot? A tie – domestically: St. Augustine, Florida, and globally: the island of Aruba. Both are slices of heaven on earth. Common theme: rest and relaxation with beautiful beaches!
LORI DUFFICY Senior Vice President, Director of Sales and Service Chelsea Groton Bank
How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? My father was a banker, I remember visiting him at the bank when I was young, people trusted and relied on him for sound financial advice - he was the “go to” person which I thought was
great. When our first daughter was born I was in sales – it was time to give up travel and think about a career where I could have a better work life – my father of course recommended a career in banking. That was 24 years ago. I’ve stayed in community banking because community bankers still make a positive difference in the financial lives of our customers and despite all of the outside interruptions in our industry, we always seem to find a way to help in big and small ways. What do you consider your biggest success? I’m going to answer this from a personal perspective: my marriage. Not many people can say that they’ve been happily
married for 31 years – this didn’t happen without tremendous and continuous effort, great communication, humor, fun and lots of compromise. How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? Staying the same is not an option for the banking industry because technology will continue to change the way we operate and the way we deliver financial solutions to our customers – we’ll continue to see competition from non-traditional banks, innovative services from technology companies will be leveraged to help compete in the digital age and biometrics will be the new norm for customer identification. However, technology will not replace
retail bank branches; we’ll still need them but the services that we’ll provide in-person will be more consultative and less transactional. Customers will adopt more digital channels but they may not necessarily give up the ones they’re already using which means that manual processes behind the scenes will have to be automated in order to remain efficient and effective. If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? I’d be a “warm climate” landscape architect. What’s your favorite vacation spot? While I love Disney, I’d have to say that my favorite vacation spot so far is the Azorean Islands.
NATHAN SAMARA Vice President, IT Manager Connecticut Mutual Holding Co.
How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? I was in a role as an information security analyst and I wanted to get back into an
admin position. I had been searching for a while when I came across the posting for a retwork administrator at the Connecticut Mutual Holding Co. (CMHC) main office in Winsted. At the time I was living an hour away but after meeting with Carol, CIO for CMHC, I knew that it was the right place for me. Seeing how essential the CMHC banks (Northwest Community Bank, Litchfield Bancorp and Collinsville Savings) are to the local community they serve is something I want to be a part of and why I stay.
What do you consider your biggest success? Professionally it is the advancements we’ve been able to make as a team in technology at the holding company. Increasing efficiencies by moving towards the paperless office and e-sign capabilities. Personally it's my family. How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? Technological advances will play a major role in banking over the next 10 years. I think we’ll see a shift towards the
virtual branch but community banks will continue to have a physical presence within their communities. If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? After the Marines, I always saw myself staying in IT but with the military or law enforcement. What’s your favorite vacation spot? Cape Cod with my family.
REBECCA GENTILE Vice President, Branch Manager KeyBank to start. I very quickly fell in love with the relationships I developed with my clients and helping my team members grow. As the industry continues to change, my love for helping people has only flourished.
How did you come to community banking, and why do you stay? I first started in banking in 2005 because I wasn’t sure what direction of career I wanted to take, but saw how successful both of my parents had been in their careers in banking. With a sales-oriented mind, I selected the branches as a place
What do you consider your biggest success? I would say the relationships in my community is what has really been my greatest success. I’m extremely lucky to have a beautiful family who is very supportive of my dedication to help others and give back to the community I work and live in. My involvement in youth sports, mentorship, education, family development and helping our community
thrive is what really keeps me motivated. How do you see technology changing the banking industry over the next 10 years? With the increase in digital channels to perform business, I would imagine that the use of electronic means would continue to grow and we would see less paper and cash exchanges to conduct transactions. Resources like Apple Pay, Paypal and Facebook would decrease the need to come in to your traditional banking centers. I would imagine that the branches would continue to evolve from how they operate today to a more self-service, digital environment.
If you weren’t a community banker, what would you be doing? If I weren’t a banker, you would find me surrounded by kids! Whether in a teaching capacity or mentorship, I have a strong passion for guiding our youth to be the future leaders of our communities. What’s your favorite vacation spot? My absolute FAVORITE vacation spot is in the Dominican Republic. My husband and I have visited Puerto Plata multiple times and absolutely love the weather and have met some really amazing people on our trips!
Guilford Savings Bank congratulates Christine Beirne, VP, Director of Human Resources, for being chosen as a New Leader in Banking. Recently, the Connecticut Bankers Association and Connecticut Banking magazine asked bankers to nominate individuals that they believe are rising stars in their profession. Nominees needed to be under 50 and making a significant contribution to their financial institution or community. An independent panel of judges, none of whom are active bankers, selected 13 individuals from the many nominations received and the recipients were recognized at an Awards Ceremony on January 12.
Congratulations Christine, and to all the recipients on this significant honor!
Christine Beirne continued on next page
Connecticut Banking Magazine â€˘ First Quarter 2017
Bankwell announced Fairfield Theatre Co. presented Chris Gruseke with the Corporate Citizen of the Year award. David Dineen was appointed executive vice president and head of community banking and Penko Ivanov was appointed executive vice president and CFO. Daniel DiGirolamo was promoted to first vice president and Peter Olson joined as vice president and branch manager. Berkshire Bank â€“ CBT Region announced Gregory Lindenmuth joined as executive vice president chief risk officer. Jim Hickson rejoined as senior vice president commercial regional president. Mike Ferry was promoted to senior vice president and commercial regional president. Chelsea Groton Bank announced Jim Elliott joined as vice president and a financial advisor representative of Infinex. Kathleen Ringler joined as vice president and financial advisor of Infinex. Dime Bank announced Todd Bower, a CSFM graduate, joined as assistant vice president and branch manager. Eastern Bank announced William Sweeney was appointed to the board of directors. Ericka Winstead was appointed vice president and loan production manager.
Essex Savings Bank announced James Sullivan was named to the 2016 Financial Times 401 Top Retirement Plan Advisers. Jeffrey Stever joined as vice president and commercial loan officer. Gregory Shook was re-elected to serve on the Board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston for a four-year term.
a mortgage loan originator of residential lending.
Ion Bank announced Vincent Saggese and David Rogers were named as Five Star Wealth Managers for 2016. Vincent Saggese was named senior vice president, Brian DiVito was named vice president, David Rogers was named vice president and John Fairfield County Bank announced George DeLeo was named assistant vice president. Bossis was appointed executive vice Laura Gallinoto was named vice president president of retail lending. Laura Silver, and regional branch manager, Sorrina a current CSFM student, was promoted Salvatore was named vice president and to associate vice president and marketing branch manager, Kendra Hoyt was named manager. Catherine Frierson was elected vice president and branch manager, Diane as a new corporator. Irene Ropicki was Teixeira was named vice president and promoted to vice president of retail lending branch manager and Julius Whitehead operations. Carol Johnson spoke to children joined as personal lines account manager. of the Riverbrook YMCA Race for Chase Kid Triathalon program on financial Liberty Bank announced Jason Cote was literacy. appointed to bank officer. Shirley Theriault was promoted to senior vice president. First County Bank announced Jeffrey Stephen Denison joined as assistant vice Costa joined as assistant vice president and president branch manager. Dean Warner trust officer. Patricia Sweeney and Lynn was promoted to vice president and Long received the Trusted Advisor Awards. customer service center. Chandler Howard Sebasian Kulesza was promoted to assistant was honored with a Lifetime Achievement vice president, Agnieszka Maciejewski Award from the Hartford Business Journal. was promoted to assistant vice president Michael McCarthy was appointed to bank and Mark Rosenbloom was promoted officer. Todd McWhinnie was appointed to vice president and manager of cash assistant vice president of commercial credit management. Elizabeth Brucker joined as underwriting. 24
First Quarter 2017 • Connecticut Banking Magazine
Joan Beresford Bulanowski
Newtown Savings Bank announced Paul Barkan joined as senior vice president and chief risk officer. Tracey Smith joined as mortgage loan officer. Carolina Vera joined as assistant treasurer and branch manager. Northwest Community Bank announced Kevin Sullivan joined the board of directors. Salisbury Bank & Trust Co. announced Spring Burke received the 2017 Five Star Mortgage Professional Award. Julianna Sinchak was promoted to assistant vice president, marketing and sales administration manager.
to assistant secretary mortgage originator. Melissa Erdtmann was promoted to vice president commercial lender. Shannon Coughlan was promoted to assistant vice president operations officer. Jennifer Pawloski was promoted to assistant vice president branch administrator. Patryk Krakowski and Phyllis Tucker were both promoted to assistant secretary branch
Simsbury Bank announced Joan Beresford Bulanowski re-joined the Connecticut Mortgage Bankers Association board. Richard Sudol was named Hartford Business Journal’s public company CFO of the Year. Susan Bernier joined as mortgage loan advisor. Thomaston Savings Bank announced Richard Caruso and Michael Pinette were appointed corporators. Mark DiVenere and James Nichol, a CSFM graduate, were elected to the board of directors. Vania Guerrera, a CSFM graduate, was promoted
continued on page 26
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Savings Bank of Danbury announced Samantha Colindres joined as assistant vice president and marketing director. Mary Dent joined as senior mortgage loan officer. Savings Institute Bank & Trust announced Teresa Prue was recognized as a Five Star Wealth Manager.
manager. Michael Dayton was promoted to assistant secretary branch manager. Elizabeth Carey, a CSFM graduate, was promoted to assistant secretary commercial credit administration supervisor. Todd Burton was promoted to assistant vice president retail banking and CRA officer.
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Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2017
continued from page 25
Harriet Munrett Wolfe
Torrington Savings Bank announced Robert Switzgable was appointed as a trustee.
United Bank announced Mary Ives was hired as sales manager and Sandra Mezei joined as relationship banker.
Union Savings Bank announced Jill Maguire joined as a senior branch manager. John Beir joined as a business banking officer. Jessica Castro was promoted to registered financial services administrative officer. Ray Giovanni was promoted to assistant vice president and senior branch manager. Cynthia Harmon was promoted to vice president and retail administration. Brianne O’Loughlin was promoted to retail sales analyst and banking officer.
Webster Bank, N.A. announced John Ciulla was elected chair of CBIA’s board of directors. Harriet Munrett Wolfe was honored with the General Counsel Impact Award for outstanding individual impact by the Connecticut Law Tribune. Amy Jokobeit was elected president of the board of United Way Meriden/Wallingford. Kevin Moran was appointed president of the Connecticut Mortgage Bankers Association. John Olerio received a Top
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Program manager award from Bank Investment Consultant. Madorie O’Hara was promoted to senior vice president, senior portfolio manager and private banking. Robert Maglio was promoted to senior vice president, senior portfolio manager and private banking. Kevin Sullivan joined as senior vice president and senior financial consultant. Westfield Bank announced Linda Swartz was named “Investigator of the Year” award by the New England Chapter of the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators. u
First Quarter 2017 • Connecticut Banking Magazine
Bankwell donated $5,000 to Norwalk Hospital Foundation for project LEAN. Bankwell sponsored the 19th Annual Habitat 5K Run for Home and WorkBook Challenge. Bank of America awarded Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network Learning Lab with $200,000 to train Harford youth and veterans for careers in public media and to provide leadership development training.
Berkshire Bank awarded $9,600 to Soldier On through the Berkshire Bank Exciting Assists Grant Program. Berkshire Bank launched its fifth “Season of Giving”. Berkshire Bank supported the Military and Veterans Suite Night contest and Exciting Rewind Giveaway along with a $6,675 to Soldier On.
Bankwell donated $5,000 to the town of Darien Firefighters Foundation.
Berkshire Bank announced Teen Checking to promote financial responsibility to teach teens important money basics. Berkshire Bank Foundation awarded over $20,000 to nine Connecticut nonprofit organizations. Berkshire Bank was named “Top Charitable Contributor” by Boston Business Journal.
Bank of America employees collected household items for victims of domestic violence sheltered at the Prudence Crandall Center.
Bankwell donated $2,500 to New Canaan Mounted Troop’s scholarship fund.
Bank of America employees volunteered to help build a home in Hartford with the Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity for Global Build month.
Berkshire Bank received national recognition by the American Bankers Association for their volunteer efforts through their Community Commitment Awards program. Berkshire Bank announced its Exciting Assists Program and awarded grants to nonprofit organizations during hockey season in partnership with ESPN.
Bankwell was honored as “Business of the Year” by Fairfield Theatre Co.
Chelsea Groton Bank was named a winner of the Greater Hartford 2016 Top Workplaces Award.
Bank of America helped collect 629 turkeys and over $24,000 in donations for Food share.
Bankwell sponsored a six-week shoe collection at its branches to benefit Norwalk’s Open Door Shelter.
Bankwell sponsored the New England Dance Theater Nutcracker Ballet Benefit Show.
Bankwell hosted a seminar for the Norwalk Mentor Program.
Chelsea Groton Bank presented area teachers with financial literacy education grants.
Citizens Bank contributed $2,500 to its Credo Champion for Community Award to Bacon Academy Project Graduation.
Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2017
Dime Bank hosted Bacon Academy students to promote financial literacy. Dime Bank Foundation awarded $2,250 to the Children’s Museum to help support STEM educational programs.
Farmington Bank hosted Noah Wallace Elementary School kindergarten students.
Dime Bank Foundation awarded $2,000 to Save the Bay in support of a STEM-based handson, marine science education program. Dime Bank partnered with the Salvation Army for their annual Angel Tree program providing new clothing and toys for children of needy families.
Fairfield County Bank donated five laptops to the Wooster School Physics Lab.
Dime Bank Foundation awarded $4,000 to Operation Warm to help provide new winter coats to underprivileged school-aged children.
Fairfield County Bank Insurance Services earned $1,750 for the Women’s Center.
Farmington Bank sponsored a breakfast for the town of Farmington Economic Development Commission’s Breakfast Series.
Fairfield County Bank donated $43,000 to four local United Way organizations.
Farmington Bank Community Foundation provided a $7,500 grant to the Open Hearth Emergency Shelter.
Essex Savings Bank spoke to voters on Election Day about their banking needs.
Essex Savings Bank participated in the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce Scarecrow Contest with their piggy bank scarecrow winning top whimsical prize. Essex Savings Bank hosted two SCORE workshops.
Farmington Bank hosted the WTIC Holiday Store benefitting the Salvation Army.
Fairfield County Bank donated $25,000 to Sturges Park. Carol Johnson of Fairfield County Bank spoke to children of the Riverbrook YMCA Race for Chase Kid Triathalon program on financial literacy.
Essex Savings Bank hosted the Visiting Nurses Association of Southeastern Connecticut for a flu shot clinic.
First County Bank had a grand opening of its new full service, limited-access branch at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering High School. First County Bank celebrated 15 years of giving back to the community by achieving more than $7.5 million in charitable donations to local nonprofits.
Farmington Bank employees donated over 400 articles of gently used clothing and shoes to benefit Dress for Success.
Fairfield County Bank Insurance Services and Fairfield County Bank hosted Cybersecurity Awareness and Fraud Prevention Events.
Farmington Bank employees participated in Blue Jeans for Babies raising $1,300.
First County Bank Foundation introduced a new grant program for public elementary teachers.
First Quarter 2017 • Connecticut Banking Magazine
First County Bank donated over 100 turkeys to the Food Bank of lower Fairfield County. Jewett City Savings Bank donated $1,500 to the QVCC Foundation, Tackle the Trail race.
First County Bank advisors hosted a series of events on the economy.
Liberty Bank presented a $3,018 check to Connecticut Trees for Honor in memory of Connecticut Veterans. Liberty Bank, along with 42 local Rotary Clubs, teamed up to raise funds for those in need on Thanksgiving.
Newtown Savings Bank sponsored the Passport to Sandy Hook event to revitalize the Sandy Hook town center.
Newtown Savings Bank participated in Bridgeport Rescue Mission’s ThanksGiving Project.
Newtown Savings Bank was the title sponsor for the Newtown Holiday Festival for the Newtown Youth and Family Services.
First County Bank awarded its $1,000 FirstPrize $avings Account winner. Liberty Bank helped raise $210,000 with High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center’s fundraiser gala.
The Ion Bank Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to the Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury for their Community Building and Engagement efforts.
Liberty Bank was named one of the top workplaces in the greater Hartford area by the Hartford Courant.
Newtown Savings Bank hosted a bank-wide food drive and provided food and a $1,000 donation to local food pantries.
The Ion Bank Foundation awarded $71,500 in grants to 17 area nonprofit organizations. Liberty Bank contributed $5,000 to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center’s annual radiothon.
The Ion Bank Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to the Cheshire Food Pantry.
Jewett City Savings Bank employees participated in the Griswold Snowflake Festival Parade.
Litchfield Bancorp launched the Litchfield Bancorp Academy to connect with the community by offering free financial, business and helpful resources.
Newtown Savings Bank participated in Junior Achievement of Western Connecticut’s Bowl-a-Thon.
Salisbury Bank kicked off its ninth annual Fillthe-Basket Campaign collecting food and donations for local food pantries. Salisbury Bank offered a free seminar about internet security. Salisbury Bank offered a free seminar on elder abuse and fraud.
Savings Institute Bank & Trust received the 2016 Corporate Philanthropy Award from the University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts for supporting the Connecticut Repertory Theatre.
Connecticut Banking Magazine • First Quarter 2017
Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation donated $17,500 to area fuel banks while $2,500 was presented to branch areas fuel banks. Savings Institute Bank & Trust awarded $1,500 to the Norwich Community Backpack Program. Simsbury Bank donated $600 to the Simsbury Camera Club. Thomaston Savings Bank awarded a scholarship for the Naugatuck Valley Community College for one year to attend the Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Program.
Savings Institute Bank & Trust 100 percent employee-funded Caring and Giving Program donated more than $3,600 to various nonprofit organizations in the Enfield area.
Simsbury Bank directors and officers attended the Top Workplaces 2016 awards event.
Thomaston Savings Bank was recognized by the Hearst Connecticut Media group as a 2016 Top Workplace.
Simsbury Bank hosted a flu shot clinic with Farmington Valley VNA.
Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation Inc. presented the Boys & Girls Club with a check for $25,000. Savings Institute Financial Foundation awarded $5,000 to Horizons Inc. in support of the “Now More Than Ever Project.”
Start Community Bank partnered with Christian Community Action for its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. Torrington Savings Bank contributed $45,694 to the United Way.
Savings Institute Bank & Trust 100 percent employeefunded Caring and Giving Program donated over $3,000 to local organizations working to aid individuals with disabilities or special needs.
Start Community Bank participated in “Operation Happy Holidays” by collecting toys for Clifford Beers. Union Savings Bank participated in the Annual Business to Business Showcase hosted by the Danbury Chamber.
Simsbury Bank collected donations for the Salvation Army Holiday Store.
Thomaston Savings Bank Foundation donated $7,500 to three area United Way organizations.
Union Savings Bank’s Ridgefield Solutions Team hosted a Celebrity Bartender Event with their tips supporting a local nonprofit organization, Ridgefield A Better Chance.
First Quarter 2017 • Connecticut Banking Magazine
Union Savings Bank helped judge the Founders Hall Wreath Festival.
Union Savings Bank participated in the first Mobile Food Pantry for the Alice Program for the United Way.
United Bank presented a $25,000 check for the Hartford Marathon Foundation’s “FitKids in School Program.”
Union Savings Bank participated in the Annual Litchfield Holiday Stroll. Union Savings Bank Foundation awarded $139,000 in support of educational programs throughout the local communities.
Union Savings Bank volunteered in the 17th Annual Handy Dandy Handyman Rake n’ Bake event.
United Bank joined the Human Services Council announcing that HSC was awarded funds through the Connecticut Neighborhood Assistance Act.
United Bank presented a $500 check to the Hartford Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs (HYPE) for its annual Tons of Toys holiday event.
United Bank supported the US Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program.
Webster Bank received the H.D. Bassett Award from Newtown Youth and Family Services for their outstanding volunteer contributions.
Webster Bank partnered with Aetna and the American Grandparents Association to host a series of special seminars for seniors and their families. Webster Bank was selected as NEDA’s Business of the Year by the Northeastern Economic Developers Association. Union Savings Bank running team participated in the United Way of Western Connecticut’s King of the Hill 5K Road Race.
Webster Bank was selected as one of the Hearst Media Services’ Top Workplaces for 2016.
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